According to a recent Northwest Indiana Times article, Indiana may be moving its agenda toward decriminalizing marijuana–or even legalizing it for home production. See Northwest Indiana Times article, “Region state senator leads charge for reform of Indiana marijuana laws” 24 July 2011.
State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) is proposing that Indiana loosen its marijuana laws–the toughest in the nation. She touts that she is simply seeing “what people are willing to do.”
I agree with Karen in some respects; however, I would caution against any drastic or sweeping measure. Indiana’s marijuana criminal laws are certainly outdated and antiquated, with this I would agree. We have so many criminal defendants behind bars for the simple possession of marijuana, and that is costing Hoosiers an unreal amount of money, not to mention taking precious liberty away from these so called “criminals”. Also, socializing these so called “criminals” in the breeding ground of hardened, violent offenders often transitions mere marijuana users or dealers into more hardened criminals themselves. Instead of rehabilitating these inmates, we’re actually super-criminalizing them–at quite a cost to the taxpayer.
Reducing sentencing guidelines is probably a good idea when it comes to marijuana. The fiscal argument to reduce sentencing guidelines in terms of reducing the gross expense couldn’t come at a better time, in fact.
As for legalization, however, I don’t think the socially conservative Indiana electorate is ready for such a change. In my estimation, Karen is far ahead of where her mainstream voters are on the issue.